The CenturyLink Inc. (CTL) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

The CenturyLink Inc. (CTL) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE:CTL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “CenturyLink’s Prism TV services bode well and has brought in revenues. This growing momentum of Prism IPTV service has prompted the company to plan the 17 Channel over the top (OTT) services launch in the beginning of 2017 which should boost the company’s video segment business. CenturyLink’s investment in the fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) has expanded its fiber-based backhaul services. The company is also focused on establishing itself as a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions arena designed for enterprise customers. However, the company is facing mounting competitive pressure which led to the decision of cutting 8% of its labor force which accounts to almost 3,000 to 3,500 workers losing their jobs. Moreover, loss of high-speed broadband subscribers, falling low-bandwidth data services revenues, intensifying competition, federal regulations and the need to upgrade technology remain potent headwinds.”

Several other equities analysts have also commented on CTL. Evercore ISI initiated coverage on shares of CenturyLink in a report on Tuesday, June 21st. They set a hold rating and a $28.00 target price on the stock. Vetr raised shares of CenturyLink from a strong sell rating to a hold rating and set a $29.00 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Macquarie initiated coverage on shares of CenturyLink in a report on Monday, July 11th. They set a neutral rating and a $31.00 target price on the stock. Morgan Stanley lowered shares of CenturyLink from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating and reduced their target price for the company from $31.00 to $27.00 in a report on Monday, July 18th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada increased their target price on shares of CenturyLink from $29.00 to $31.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a report on Monday, August 8th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $28.44.

Shares of CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) traded up 0.15% during trading on Thursday, hitting $27.43. 520,925 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $14.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.36 and a beta of 0.80. CenturyLink has a 12 month low of $21.94 and a 12 month high of $32.94. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $27.66 and a 200 day moving average price of $29.12.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $440 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.39 billion. CenturyLink had a net margin of 5.47% and a return on equity of 11.02%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.55 EPS. Analysts anticipate that CenturyLink will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 2nd were given a $0.54 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $2.16 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 7.89%. CenturyLink’s dividend payout ratio is 120.67%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of CTL. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. boosted its position in shares of CenturyLink by 0.6% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 393,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,046,000 after buying an additional 2,466 shares during the period. Quadrature Capital Ltd boosted its position in shares of CenturyLink by 190.5% in the first quarter. Quadrature Capital Ltd now owns 39,378 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,258,000 after buying an additional 25,822 shares during the period. Lazard Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of CenturyLink by 36.3% in the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 79,485 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,540,000 after buying an additional 21,175 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of CenturyLink by 857.0% in the first quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 44,969 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,437,000 after buying an additional 40,270 shares during the period. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its position in shares of CenturyLink by 0.6% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 30,716,866 shares of the company’s stock worth $981,706,000 after buying an additional 171,326 shares during the period. 73.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

CenturyLink Company Profile

CenturyLink, Inc is an integrated communications company. The Company is engaged in providing an array of communications services to residential and business customers. The Company’s segments include Business and Consumer. Its communications services include local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), private line (including special access), data integration, Ethernet, colocation, managed hosting (including cloud hosting), network, public access, video, wireless and other ancillary services.

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